Quest Updated: Customer Review Killing Democracy (Sort Of)
I used to be very idealistic about the online revolution. It is a place for democracy! Anyone gets a say! Heck, the fact I’m able to put these thoughts out for people to read (or ignore, if they so wish) is because of the internet. And for a medium as new as gaming, the internet is the best (and perhaps even only) extensive location for information, opinions, reviews and the like. If gaming is mentioned in mainstream news, it’s generally linked to a mass murder. On the internet, gaming is allowed to be taken more seriously. We can in the comments here discuss the merits of Pokemon, debate whether stylized art is better or worse than uber-realistic art, and ask questions about problems within the industry that go beyond “do games make kids beat each other”.
Here comes the but.
Yesterday, I saw a post by Supergiant Games about Bastion in the Apple iStore. As a huge fan of the game on PC, I was somewhat curious to see how it was received on a touch-screen medium. It had such a simple control scheme that I wanted to see replicated (if that was possible) on a tablet. Now, in the internet’s defense, the game does have a very, very high customer satisfaction rating.
But, (at the time of writing), the score breakdown looked like this: 954 reviews were a perfect 5 out of 5. 69 were 4-stars. 14 and 12 for the next two levels respectively. And then 1 star (ONE BLOODY STAR!) had 85. Now, compared to 954 reviews of a perfect score, that isn’t much of an insult. Until you read the comments.
Reasons included: “this app isn’t compatible with my iPhone 4″. First world problems. Also, it says it isn’t compatible below 4S in the description. So essentially, people [insert sneering jealous adjective for Apple users here, if that floats your boat] who cannot read the description mark the game as bad because they don’t have the right hardware. That would be like me lambasting Bioshock Infinite, Darksiders, Assassin’s Creed 3 (which, based on reviews I may have done anyway), and any non-PC game franchise because I can’t play it and was too damn ignorant to check first.
But that’s just a problem facing people on things like Amazon and the iStore, right? Right? Look at this video of a review of an excellent parody game on Newgrounds.
After all this ranting, what do I conclude?
Customer ratings suck, but they’re a necessary evil. I don’t have anything better for you today. What do you take me for, a wizard? This is the internet. It’s a place for trolls, for serious debates, for Nicholas Cage, and for mad fan theories that Ash Ketchum is in a coma the whole time.
Yes, the interactivity does give stupid people a space to be stupid in public. Maybe we should just laugh at them and then look to a more reputable source for our reviews.